A day in the life #7 (2010)

Fake sleep pics FTW. One of the few things I dislike about being out here is having to sleep under a mozzie net.

Time check. I get woken early each day by the chickens outside. More about that later. I had to get up early today to go to church. I’m an atheist/agnostic but church is a big part of life out here and it seems silly to not experience it.

Another thing I dislike is having to wash in cold water using this method.

I quickly wash some clothes

And sort out some money – I know there will be collections and so I like to put different denominations in different pockets so I can easily fish out the appropriate amount.

I’m based at a school for the blind and Nico and Saidi had promised to escort me to church.

On the way I swung by the dorms and distributed some football shirts friends had given me in the UK. During previous trips I’ve been trying to teach people about teams outside of the big four, so this time I brought some lower league shirts. I’m from Bristol in the UK, hence there being two Bristol Rovers and one Bristol City shirt.

We mill around for a bit and then head to the Anglican Church. Things got a bit awkward at one stage cos new people have to stand up half way through and introduce themselves. The pastor was new and didn’t know I’d been a few times over the past decade or so but I resolutely refused to stand as he stared at me.

There were four choirs present – the local tribe is renowned for their music and it makes the whole service so much more interesting.

3 hours later I make it back home and crack open a Coke. I live off the stuff here.


Emmanuel is always at my house asking to play this game. Boppit is a brilliant game for the visually impaired. It also helps them learn English numbers. The headphones came courtesy of British Airways.

And now to the dance competition. The kids all love dancing and it is all a lot of fun to watch.

The winners – Jose won and got a wind up radio and Saidi came second and got a talking watch.

I play a bit of frisbee with the kids – this is a good one cos it is soft and so when my dreadful throws hit a blind kid square in the face then it doesn’t cause any damage.

I join the kids for lunch – meat and rice. This is something of a treat for them as they usually just eat ground maize with beans.

I return to my house and get told there is an infestation in a disused lightswitch outside my door. The kids are more frightened of these specific insects than of scorpions so I quickly ran inside and then sent one of the boys out to do my dirty work for me. I’m so brave.

Time check from a sunburnt arm.

I’m involved in a zillion micro projects out here and some people like to thank me for the help I give them by giving me gifts – this is today’s haul. I always feel uber guilty though cos they come from the poorest people but I have to accept them.

I fire up some wrestling. These children couldn’t tell you the capital city of England but they can rattle off names like John Cena.

I find I become a canvas for a budding tattoo artist.

The children take off their shoes when entering my house. Its amazing watching the blind ones hunt around to find their shoes when they leave – I reckon they rely on the sense of smell.

I fall asleep on a rock outside for 20 minutes and wake to find my camera has not been so idle.

So to those chickens who wake me up – I think I’m having the last laugh here! This is Penda, the woman I employ to cook and clean for me. In the past ive always cooked for myself, but it takes so much time and I’m only here for a few weeks and my time is better spent elsewhere.

I then head to the dam with one of the guys from the village and we get followed by ten or so local kids. They’re all really nice and play at my house every day.

This is the guy i went with – we found a frog to use as bait but the only thing we caught were frogs. The same happened last year. Perhaps next year we will use fish as bait and see if that works.

I give a quick demonstration of what I hope the fish will do.

These are the soles of the shoes of one of the boys. Talk about getting your money’s worth! Actually it was money given to my by friends during my last visit.

I wish my camera was better in the sunlight as this could have been a good pic.

Hello again

We head back to the village and the children hop around like mountain goats. Not at all like me.

Penda always cooks me too much food and so it gets spread around several people. I really should tidy my table.

After dinner I head out and stop at the dorms to give some batteries out to the kids who’d asked for them.

We get to the bar and I catch up with Amini. When I came out here in 2008-2009 he worked on a milling machine but I’ve linked him up with a sponsor and got him back to school. This year he’ll be taking his national exams and is hoping to become a doctor. He’s a top guy, works hard and speaks very good English and its really satisfying giving people like him a future again.

On my way home I see Mr Omary – he is a teacher at the blind shool and also the regional co-ordinator of the Tanzanian League for the Blind. We stop and talk for a bit as this week I’m doing all kinds of things with him for the blind outside the village and everything takes lots of organising to prevent mistakes from happening.

I stick some images on my laptop and hit the sack as I have another early start in the morning.


About Imo & Tom Feilding

I'm in my 30s and work for the University of Bristol, I regularly visit Buigiri Village slapbang in the centre of Tanzania in East Africa. It is a very poor semi-desert area. I spend much of my time and money helping individuals improve their situation and I write about it on here.
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